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Will Blog For Food

We’ve established and train, that the most crucial step to “finding your blogging voice” is by focusing on core categories and delivering regular content to your audience.  That strict approach leaves no room for ‘Blogging Big Picture’ essays if your audience is expecting content about the [your town here] real estate market.

It’s a shame if you have a great understanding that you can’t contain and have no appropriate soapbox to express it.  The Real Estate Tomato is that soapbox; a destination to shape knowledge and discussion about the real estate blogging big picture itself.

Our Vine is growing quickly with real estate bloggers that need to share their understanding of how to approach the blogging as marketing effort.  For them it seems therapeutic, for us, it’s both a blessing and an honor.

Today we are thrilled to slide the Tomato Soapbox over to Jonathan Greene.
What has impressed me most about Jonathan, and the exact reason why I gladly agreed to let him write for us, is his unmistakable tone.  When he writes, I hear him; it’s not subtle.  Refreshing? Certainly.  On topic?  Spot On!  We hope we can keep him distracted from his Local Focus, at least once in a while, to grace our pages with his wit and counsel.

Will Blog For Food
by Jonathan Greene

Will_blog_for_foodI’ve heard much debate recently about “Localism.” Is it a trend as some suggest? Or, is it a manifestation of a return to the origin of Real Estate Blogging as John Lockwood recently proposed? Either way, it’s a topic of much discussion. As is the case with answering most questions, it’s best to start at the beginning.

Localism: According to Wikipedia, is a tendency of local groups (cultures, nations, communities) to be narrow in their world view, and dismissive of concepts which emphasize broader concepts of community.

I read that twice, and then had my wife explain it to me. I think it’s a short climb up the ladder of logic to adapt that definition to our purposes and say that “Localism, as it pertains to Real Estate Blogging, is a movement to monopolize search engine generated web traffic related to a specific geographic region by publishing locally focused articles on one’s blog.”

So now we know what it is. But hell, all we really want to know is if it works!

I recently cashed my first escrow check that came as a direct result of my blogging efforts, so I have 6000 reasons to think that it does work. The obvious implication is that I am no expert in the subject because this was my FIRST check from blogging. I’m sure that some of the gurus have had many more and may be better qualified to expound upon the subtleties of localism, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Let me tell you how I stumbled upon a deal from blogging about Tampa Real Estate:

  1. I wrote keyword-rich articles about Tampa Real Estate….and I got clobbered. It seems that nobody told me there were 20,000 Realtors in Tampa with websites optimized to monopolize searches for keywords such as “Tampa Realtor” or Tampa Real Estate.” After several weeks of no related web traffic, I went back to the drawing board.

  2. I thought about my target audience. If I were searching for a house online, what would I type? Would I just type “Tampa Real Estate?” Probably. But then, I’d be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Then what? I would search for that neighborhood down the street with the new houses that I liked when I drove by. What was it called? Oh yes, Asbel Creek.

  3. I wrote about individual neighborhoods. I wrote detailed neighborhood reviews outlining the pros and cons of each neighborhood in my area. I started with Land O Lakes, which is a little suburb of Tampa. Wouldn’t you know, the traffic starts pouring in….ehr….trickling in may be more accurate. But, at least they’re showing up now. So…

  4. I tried to figure out how to get them to contact me. Marketing types call this a “value added proposition.” But, for my purposes, I had to be more subtle than just saying “You should use Team Greene Realty because we friggin rock!” So (big surprise) I wrote more articles. This time, I highlighted some of the more difficult aspects of navigating Real Estate transactions. I wrote about how dealing with builders in Tampa could be difficult, and how using a Realtor could ease that difficulty.

  5. I made myself available to receive the payoff. Internet types have a short attention span. I knew that when, and if, my buyer called my phone I had better answer it. If he emailed me, I had 15 minutes to get back to him before he lost interest. So, I leveraged the latest technology (in this case, my Palm Treo) to make myself available 24/7. When he emailed, I answered immediately in a warm, friendly way. One month later, I cashed my check.

That's my story and I’m sticking to it. Whether or not this strategy will work again, or for how long, is another argument for another day. For now, I’ll retire to my bloggery and attempt to write another post that will be valuable to my Tampa readers.

Thanks Jonathan!  It’s great to have you on the Vine.

Jonathan Greene is President and CEO of Team Greene Realty.
His website:
His blog:

Related must reads:
The Real Power Of Blogging
If You Write It They Will Come

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Jonathan, your strategy is the same as mine and it works for me too. The people that "know stuff" talk about google but they seem to forget about the person operating the key board and looking for information. great post!

Yes. I have no idea how in the heck google works. I don't know their loga-thingies (I can't even spell it) and I don't care. Sometimes we forget that blogging is about communicating our personality in (at the very least) a semi-professional way as much as it is about generating traffic. People don't care what you know until they know that you care....

Well, Jonathan, you can claim to be ignorant of SEO, but congratulations on your first check from doing it. :) I see what you've done as a classic case of what one always has to do in the face of huge competition for the 800-pound gorilla keywords: focus on niche keywords that have less competition but are still able to draw sufficient traffic to pay you. has been touting this approach to sell their wares for years (and they've helped me quite a bit, especially early on). Arguably since about 2004 the niche keywords are frequently the best you can do, unless you're targeting MSN. And "Tampa real estate" is more like a 1,600 pound gorilla!

Teresa, SEO knowledge and providing information to people who reach you as a result of targeted keyword work are not mutually exclusive. The person operating the keyboard and looking for information is using a search engine to find it. If you doubt that, try dropping the following robots.txt file in your root directory and let me know how your people skills work out:

"User-agent: *
Disallow: /"

(Don't really try that. It's not good for you.)

A really good book that sheds light on the evangelical / populist roots of this debate is Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life."

Not loga-thingie. Algo-thingie. To wit, I got rithm.

"People don't care what they know until they know that you care." True enough. But they won't know that you care if they can't find you.

John, I always feel dumber after you write stuff....

Amazingly, despite my ignorance, they are finding me. I'll be a force to be reckoned with once I learn more about what I'm doing. As I write this, I'm drafting a list of niche keywords that I would like to dominate.

Then, I'll write blogs that use those words. It's not rocket science.

I think one of the beauties of blogging is that using natural language is going to generate better seo results than trying to stuff keywords. Plus, when you use natural language your content is much more interesting to read.
Congrats on your first blogging paycheck! May it be first of many.

I think one of the beauties of blogging is that using natural language is going to generate better seo results than trying to stuff keywords. Plus, when you use natural language your content is much more interesting to read.
Congrats on your first blogging paycheck! May it be first of many.

Jonathan, you've had a talent since you first blogged on ActiveRain for your personality and good qualities to shine through. Finding the long tail was all about having consumers find you as well. Congratulations.

Good to see you here on the Tomato! As a fellow Tampa area Realtor, I enjoy visiting your blog regularly. There are very few in the Tampa Bay area who put such a personal touch on their blogs. Great info about making a blog work.

Thanks for reading. I think I'm just silly, but it works. I have fun with it.

Thank you for sharing and inspiring me! It's nice to know there's a paycheck at the end of the tunnel... as a 'baby' in the burgeoning real estate blog world, I'll keep doing what I'm doing and look forward to growing.

Congratulations Jonathan and have fun spending that check. Now, I'm off to read your blog and learn more. Thanks for sharing and for Jim having you hear to talk to all of us.

I have a question for you Jonathan, do you do any link exchanges, etc? One component of SEO is keywords on the website, the other is relevant linking. The linking part is what usually propels you to the top of the results, even for broad keywords.

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